As I have probably mentioned , I home educated my daughter not because she was bullied or because I was anxious about the pressures of school, but because I wished to give her a good education. It is after all upon the quality of education, which this pedagogical technique must ultimately be judged; not its other supposed advantages. When we are weighing up the merits of an educational setting, looking at a school for example, then it is the education being provided which should really concern us. Of course the sports facilities and pastoral care are important, but the single most important question will be; does this place provide a good education? Looked at from this perspective, home education succeeds brilliantly, matching anything which can be offered in the most expensive independent school in the country.
It should not be surprising that home education is so effective. Even in the most exclusive private school, the child will be learning in a group, with only an hour or two each week for most subjects. This is in contrast to the intensive, one to one tuition which is possible with home education. It is the ultimate 'personalised learning', to use the modern jargon. The child will always be set work to precisely his own level of ability, there is unlimited time available for extension work and extra-mural activities, the slightest problem or lack of understanding may be dealt with as soon as it is noticed. No time at all is wasted in the educational process; no settling down, no kids mucking about, no disruptive children, no bright children becoming bored, nor slow ones falling behind. Just solid and unrelenting focus upon one or two children, whose needs are paramount. Little wonder that under such conditions, children are able to thrive academically in a way that many are unable to do at school.
It is not as though the information which school teachers provide is particularly arcane or obscure. The specifications for GCSEs, either standard or international, are freely available. These explain precisely what the child needs to know in order to get top marks and it is then simply a matter of ensuring that he knows it! Nothing could be simpler. Without the distractions and irrelevant activities which take up so much time in schools, it is hard to see how any child of average ability could fail to get A* at all his examinations.
When, as is perhaps inevitable, there are attempts in the future by teachers or educationalists to criticise the idea of home education, these are the points which need to be used to counter such criticism; that home education is extremely effective as a form of education. If this can be shown, then the debate will be won. If home education comes across to professionals as a slipshod and second rate means of educating a child, something favoured only by sandal wearing homeopaths, whose children are too timid and shy to mix with others, then in the end there will be a crackdown on the practice. It is this aspect of home education, that it is a robust and effective form of education, that we need to be demonstrating to sceptics.